Just add challenge

When it comes to gamification, points, badges and leaderboards are totally overrated.

Focusing on creating challenge is more interesting, because if we think about games and sport, challenge is a defining feature of them.

For example, Mario Kart would be much easier if you drove on a straight track towards the finish line with no obstacles. But where’s the fun in that? Instead, you have to steer around tight turns, dodge obstacles, avoid enemy items, and glide over large gaps.

Golf would easier if you could just pick up the ball and put it in the hole. Instead, you have to use a club to hit the ball, obstacles are put in the way, and you’re challenged to get the ball in the hole under par (the number of strokes a first-class player generally requires).

So if creating challenging tasks can help make a game more interesting, then can we do the same for our everyday tasks that we find boring?


One easy way to get started is to simply to add a time limit to your task.

Challenge yourself to get a task done within a certain amount of time (e.g., 1 min, 1 hour or 1 day), start the timer and see how you go!

This can be one of the easiest ways to make a task more interesting, in particular if the task is a little mundane (I’m looking at you email…).

Otherwise adding other limits to your tasks can help create challenge too (e.g., email replies must be 20 words or less and meetings can only be done standing up).

That’s a few ways from me to get started, but what about you?

Have you got any interesting ways in which you add challenge to your everyday tasks? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments below!

One more thing…

I’ve got a few more days free this year if you’d like to bring me in to your organisation to run an Introduction to Gamification workshop. By the end of the workshop you’ll have a gamification prototype ready for testing! If you want more information, send me a message.